The kids are amazing

Recently I had a number of encounters with a group of people that I find absolutely fascinating. In fact they are so amazing, so bright, so intelligent, so knowledgeable and at the same time so humble, that to me they feel like a new breed of humankind. I met them in Germany where I live, in Mexico, in the States (places where I recently traveled), I find them on the internet. Those people are well educated open minded young adults, up to 25 years of age. Those are humans that grew up in the time of digital. Kids that, while their brains were assembled did not exercise in watching TV (as I did) but exercised in playing computer-games and using the internet.

Gonzalo Álvarez at Vertice Transmedia Conference in Mexico-City, Oct, 2018 

I was never a gamer, but I realized early on, that if you practice playing computer games, it must be a different kind of practice for the brain and therefor lead to a different wiring of the brain, that leads to a different kind of thinking. And I said 15 years ago, that when these kids are grownups, they will be able to think thoughts, that we might not even be able to understand, but those thoughts will be amazing. Those kids grew up now. You meet them at conferences, they deliver papers, they become visible by expressing themselves making music, uploading stuff to YouTube (for sure they become visible at more places, these are just the places I find them).

What makes them so fantastic is the effortlessness how they seem to be able to connect different bits of information from various fields of expertise. They seem not to be bound by the borders of particular areas of thinking. They are open-minded to an extend that I was not, when I was their age (and I always considered myself to be an open-minded person). Those kids are beautiful and it is sheer pleasure to watch them think.

Those kids know, what they don’t know and they are not afraid say that. I remember being that age and I was so full of myself. I knew, what I knew and that was a lot and in certain fields often times more than the elders. But I was not able to see what I don’t know and it took me many, many years to learn.

And because those kids that know so much, also know, what they don’t know, they are not afraid to ask others for help. This way they are able to collaborate in a way that I never was and maybe never will be.

I am not sure if all the kids are like that. Probably not. Maybe there are those kids that TV loves to portrait so often: The casualties of the digital, the kids that live in their parents’ basement, play computer games, smoke weed and suffer depression.

I personally never met one, but of course that does not mean they don’t exist. Those kids don’t show up at conferences or ask me for an interview. Certainly, I am just talking about the top of the iceberg. But the young top of the iceberg is so much more impressive than the top of the iceberg when I was young!

An other recent text about the same topic.


Mexico-City, Dez. 2013

Es ist ein Zaubermittel, und ich bin immer wieder aufs neue fasziniert, wenn es funktioniert. Obschon es dieses Mittel auch in der Heimat gibt, fällt mir seine Kraft immer dann auf, wenn ich fern von zu Hause bin, in einem Land, dessen Sprache ich nicht spreche und dessen Menschen mir nicht vertraut sind. Wenn ich ratlos, hungrig und durstig an einer Straßenecke stehe, von einem Flughafen ausgespuckt, in einem Land, in dem ich noch nie war. Ich kann die Gesichter der Menschen nicht lesen, sie kommen mir fremd und abweisen vor. Es ist ein Moment der kleinen Verzweiflung, wie wenn man ein altes Auto hat, den Zündschlüssel umdreht und nie sicher sein kann, dass der Motor auch anspringt. Doch das Zaubermittel bring wildfremde Menschen dazu, mir zu helfen, mich mit Taxifahrten, Hotelzimmern und Nahrungsmittel zu versorgen. In einem neuen Land bin ich noch tagelang erstaunt, jedes mal, wenn ich Essen bekomme, im Austausch gegen einen runzeligen Papierschein.